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By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Keratitis is an infection caused by a virus (herpes simplex) and should be treated by an ophthalmologist. The infection often occur when using contact lenses or by a scratch on the cornea.

Small superficial scratches in the cornea and mild forms of keratitis usually heal quickly when treated with ointment or eye drops with antibiotics and normal eyesight is regained.

Deeper wounds and infections to the cornea is a serious condition and can threaten your eyesight.

When healing, scar tissue is usually formed that can lead to permanent reduced eyesight. When using contact lenses, hygiene is important and you should not use contact lenses if the eyes are irritated, red or there is pus in the eyes. It is important that you have a pair of glasses that fits so you are not ‘forced’ into using the lenses in spite of nuisances. Glasses must be used by the slightest irritation in the eye. If you suspect keratitis, it is important to bring lenses, covers and cleaning fluid when visiting the ophthalmologist that need them to determine the type of inflammation.

You cannot use your contact lenses again, until the ophthalmologist says it is okay.

Further reading on Frequent signs.

What can you do?


Make sure to have good hygiene in connection with putting in and taking out lenses and cleaning the covers etc. Do not use lenses if the eye is irritated.

What can your optician do?
Check up on and inform you about the use of your contact lenses. Refer you to the doctor or the ophthalmologist.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

Prescribe eye drops with antibiotics. Refer to the ophthalmologist.

Contact the doctor immediately

Treat a wound to the cornea with eye drops or ointment with antibiotics and possibly put a bandage on the eye. In very severe cases you are referred to a hospital.